\LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Christians will observe Ash Wednesday Wednesday, ushering in the 40-day season of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seeking spiritual renewal through prayer, discipline and good works.
Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of penance. A minister or priest marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the shape of a cross.
In the Roman Catholic church, individuals are told as the ashes are applied to their foreheads, "Turn from sin and live the Gospel."
Catholics observe Ash Wednesday by fasting, abstaining from meat and repenting. Other Christian denominations make fasting optional, with the main focus being on repentance.
Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez will celebrate a bilingual Ash Wednesday Mass at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The Mass will be livestreamed at facebook.com/lacatholics and youtube.com/olacathedral.
Mass will be also celebrated at the cathedral in English at 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 5:15 p.m., and in Spanish at 7 p.m. A Liturgy of the Word will be celebrated at 3 p.m. Ashes will be distributed during all services.
Free 90-minute parking validation will be available for the 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. Masses. A standard $10 flat rate will apply for the remaining services.